Check my profile picture after you are done reading this. > This one's a tear jerker, so be ready for it. > > > A very powerful message! > > A Simple Thank You > > Last week, while traveling to Chicago on > business, > I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not > put > two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the > sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), > and > > inquired if he was heading home. > No, he responded. > > Heading out I asked? > No. I'm escorting a soldier home. > > Going to pick him up? > No. He is with me right now. He was killed > in > Iraq . I'm taking him home to his family. > > The realization of what he had been asked to > do > hit > me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me > that, > although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his > passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many > > conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, > and > said, Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I > can > do > what we do. > Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped > short > of > the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. > "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note > that > we > have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States > Marine > Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back > home > to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we > open > > the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his > fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign." > Without a sound, all went as requested. I > noticed > the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and > his > action made me realize that I am proud to be an American. > > So here's a public Thank You to our military > Men > > and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do. > signed: Stuart Margel -- Washington , D.C. > Also, here are two very touching photos > honored > at this years International Picture of the Year. > > First Place, Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News > When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrivedat > the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and > > draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family > gather > on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket > last year at Denver International Airport , Major Steve Beck described > the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat > right > there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's > going > through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him > > home," he said. "They will remember being on that plane for the rest of > > their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And > they should." > > Second Place, Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News > The night before the burial of her husband's > body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep > next > to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking > in > the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her > laptop > computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the > Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she > slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she > said. "I > think that's what he would have wanted." > > PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING!